With her crazy fast 3:15:00.7 50k PR and her win a month ago at the IAU 50k world championships, Emily Harrison will start the 2014 IAU 100k World Championships as a women’s favorite. In this interview, Emily talks about her experience racing on the same course on Doha, Qatar a month ago, how she thinks her 2014 of running has gone, and her thoughts on racing her first 100k this weekend.
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Emily Harrison Pre-2014 IAU 100k World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Emily Harrison before the 2014 IAU 100k World Championships in Qatar. How are you, Emily?
Emily Harrison: I’m doing well, thanks.
iRunFar: You were here just a few weeks ago.
Harrison: I was not too long ago. I feel like I’m having déjà vu.
iRunFar: You ran the [IAU] 50k World Trophy here—the equivalent of the world championships and won that.
iRunFar: How did that race go for you?
Harrison: It was good. The goal coming in was to win that race and have it be a stepping stone for the 100k—get a feel for the course and a good effort for this in.
iRunFar: You had run a very fast 50k earlier in the year. Was it at Caumsett?
iRunFar: Obviously, you didn’t run as fast at the 50k World Trophy.
iRunFar: How much more difficult is it running on this course and in these conditions?
Harrison: Yeah, coming in, yeah, it was unfortunate because I was hoping this would be another opportunity to try to go for another fast time, but as the race got closer, reality set in that it was going to be warm and humid and probably not a great time to be trying to run for any records. Coming in it was just run for the win and try to run conservatively and don’t kill yourself. So that was the plan coming in. This course definitely changes things. It’s flat, but you have quite a few turns in here on a 5k loop—three 180-degree turns—and I think that slows things down even though they tried to make them fairly wide. All those factors affected my time for sure.
iRunFar: Are you feeling in pretty good shape?
Harrison: Yeah, I’m in good shape and heathly. That’s the most important thing. I haven’t topped out in training by any means, but we trained smart throughout this last eight weeks or so. I just wanted to get here healthy and set myself up as best as I could.
iRunFar: So is that what most of the second half of your year has been focused on was towards this race?
Harrison: Yeah, I would say, we did TransRockies in August and after that just kind of recovered. We used that to kick off a little bit of this fall and then tried to get back to some road running again and back to the forest-service roads and not as much time on the trails.
iRunFar: Do you feel like your year has gone pretty well so far?
Harrison: The second half, yeah. I hit some bumps earlier in the year and I’m looking to finish off strong, so that’s huge for me.
iRunFar: At a race like this, it’s a world championship and it is a stronger field than at the world trophy. Do you go into a race like this trying to win it or do something else? What is your goal going into this?
Harrison: Yeah, definitely finishing and trying to podium is big. Again, it’s going to be interesting to see how the race plays out because of the conditions and see what everyone does. I want to compete and see what the other ones are doing, but I also just want to try to run a smart race for myself and hope it works out in the end to finish well. So, we’ll see, but I’m definitely looking to finish high for sure.
iRunFar: You probably are one of the faster people in terms of road speed and in your history, so does that tempt you to go off the front and set a really fast pace?
Harrison: Not so much because this is still an unknown distance for me. This is my first attempt at a 100k and also on a course like this. I think there are some unknowns for me coming into it. I’m not necessarily going to gun it from the start and hope it works out. It is well over seven hours of running and it’s a long race and it’s so warm. It’s cooler now than it was a couple weeks ago here, but it’s still warm. I think it’s going to affect times again.
iRunFar: Have you chatted with your teammates? The American women won the last IAU 100k World Championships and Amy [Sproston] won it overall. Have you gotten any good advice from them?
Harrison: Some, yeah. I’m rooming with Meghan Arbogast, so it’s great because she’s been to several of these. So chatting with her and getting a feel of the event in general is pretty awesome. Being surrounded by Pam [Smith] and Amy and Meghan—they’ve all been here and they’ve done it. So it’s nice and comforting to have the experience behind you and kind of give you some guidance on things. Plus, just USATF—Lin [Gentling] and Timo [Yanacheck] and [Dr.] Lion [Caldwell] have all been here several times. So they’ve got a lot of things dialed in that I probably wouldn’t have thought of as far as support for the team and all that kind of good stuff.
iRunFar: You definitely have the team support. Does having the team-competition aspect factor in at all?
Harrison: Sure, yeah. I think getting your teammates adds an extra element for sure. Now I’m competing for them. I can’t let them down as well as myself.
iRunFar: Does that make you almost want to run a little more conservatively? For me personally, I’d want to attack it if it was just me, but…?
Harrison: I think it does make me want to run a little bit conservatively just because we’re looking to finish and win the title again. Top three count in team scoring.
iRunFar: And it’s time-based.
Harrison: Yeah, it’s time-based. And Cassie [Scallon] is not here now, so there are just five of us toeing the line. So, I think it’s just really important to get to that finish line. I think this is a race of attrition anyway, and it sounds like from past experience that’s what tends to happen. People go out hard and come back, and the next thing you know, you’ll be finishing top three.
iRunFar: Do you think you could work together as a team? Are you to hang back with Pam and Amy and Meghan at some point early on?
Harrison: We haven’t talked team tactics necessarily. We had a team meeting earlier but we didn’t really talk about that yet. Maybe that will come up in the next couple days how they plan to attack the race and go into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves running in a pack at some point in time.
iRunFar: On a day like this where it’s a little breezier, that’s going to be… whether it’s your American teammate or someone else…?
iRunFar: Running with other folks will be quite helpful.
Harrison: Yes, definitely. I know in the 50k, I found myself alone quite a bit and in the breezy sections, whoo!
iRunFar: One of the other complications that we never see on the trails is wet tile. Coming through the team feed area, it’s all on slick tile.
Harrison: Oh, I know. Yeah, that actually came up in our meeting. We were talking about that. How wet does it get? Is it going to be slick? I think it’s going to be slick. It was during the 50k a little bit. You just have to watch your footing and hope it doesn’t get too sloppy out there.
iRunFar: Best of luck in the race, Emily, and have fun.
Harrison: Thank you so much.